October 15, 2012

Refunds for Kindle owners from Hachette, Harper Collins, and Simon & Schuster


The fallout of the anti-trust lawsuit settlement against Hachette, Harper Collins, and Simon & Schuster  has begun.

Amazon is apparently eager and confident in expecting cash back for their customers from the three publishers for their use of agency pricing. Megan Geuss on ArsTechnica writes that this weekend, Amazon began emailing its customers, notifying them that they will receive refunds in the near future.

“Hachette, Harper Collins, and Simon & Schuster have settled an antitrust lawsuit about e-book prices,” Amazon’s notification reads, “Under the proposed settlements, the publishers will provide funds for a credit that will be applied directly to your Amazon.com account. If the Court approves the settlements, the account credit will appear automatically and can be used to purchase Kindle books or print books.”

The email seems a little preemptive, given the settlement will not be approved until February 2013, but Amazon must perceive no reason for doubt. Reuters reports that Amazon has told Kindle owners “that they could receive a refund of between 30 cents and $1.32 for e-books they bought between April 2010 and May 2012. The books must have been published by three publishers who have agreed to settle a lawsuit.”

The three publishers are prepared for this eventuality, as Geuss reports,

“While the settlement still needs to be approved by the court at a hearing on February 8, 2013, Hachette, Harper Collins, and Simon & Schuster have already set up a $69 million fund to pay back customers.”

Besides these immediate dollars and cents, the wider reverberations of this settlement on the industry are of course yet to come.



Ariel Bogle is a publicist at Melville House.